The delicate art of superpipe construction
Groomers at Park City Mountain Resort shape the Eagle Superpipe for the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships.
The process started when park employees created a GPS map of the site.
When the temperatures dropped, groomers piled snow and left it in mounds called whales while it dried out to achieve the right consistency.
It was then pushed into the general shape of the pipe using snowcats, following the GPS specifications, and carved by hand with chainsaws to get clean edges.
Throughout the process, the consistency of the snow is paramount.
“That’s integral for both the riding surface and for the maintenance of that halfpipe,” said Chris Ingham, PCMR’s terrain park manager.
Having quality snow of an even consistency allows athletes to perform their best.
“They can set their edge and be comfortable taking off and landing,” Ingham said. “They’re engaging in some pretty technical maneuvers with a lot of skill necessary to do the trick in the first place. They really want a nice, smooth, consistent surface and a smooth, consistent shape.”
The Eagle Superpipe, which Ingham and his crew have built near the base of the resort, is 22 feet high and 625 feet long.
It will be the site of the snowboard halfpipe finals on Feb. 8, and the freeski halfpipe finals on Feb. 9.
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